In August 2021, my partner, Kimberly White and I, took a three-week vacation to explore the Pacific Northwest. The highlight of our trip was our visit and extended stay in Bellingham, Washington State.
For those who thrive on diversity and endeavor to live in a place that offers miles of scenic hiking trails nestled around a beautiful Pacific Bay port community, the City of Bellingham is worth a visit.
With Vancouver, British Columbia, 52 miles (84 km)to the northwest, and Seattle, 90 miles (140 km) to the south, living in Bellingham is a short drive for locals that want to visit Canada or access the Seattle metro area.
The Coast Salish peoples of the Lummi (orLhaq'temish) are believed to have called the Bellingham area home for thousands of years. People of Lummi ancestry live in and around Bellingham Bay, including the nearby Lummi Nation reservation.
Bellingham's rich and colorful history dates to 1852, when the first European immigrants reached the area. Early settlers and industrialists found dense forests populated by tall and immense trees of Cedar, Douglas Fir, Sitka, Maple, Hemlock and many other species. Lumber mills were established, supported by townspeople that harvested billions of board feet of lumber over the course of a century. Much of the lumber that supported there building of San Francisco after devastating 1906 Earthquake and resulting fires, that destroyed a reported 25,000 buildings, was sourced from Bellingham forests.
Other homesteaders arrived and established new towns supported by new industries, such as coal mining and salmon fishing and canning. In 1858, the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush supported further population growth of Bellingham and surrounding communities. The arrival of three railroad lines in 1890, provided a means to export Bellingham's salmon, timber and coal products to nationwide communities.
Today, Bellingham's largest industry and employer is government, supporting Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, and Bellingham Technical College. Health care is the second largest industry, with PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Unity CareNW, Family Care Network are among the largest employers. Private healthcare practices, including alternative medicine and the assisted living facilities also serve the Bellingham area.
In driving and walking around Bellingham and the thriving downtown area, it's a safe bet that Bellingham is home to hundreds of small business enterprises, which provide many of the products and services that enable this city to continue to grow and thrive.
Dining at The Black Cat in Fairhaven Village was a fun experience. This casual dress and social gathering place served-up a great dinner, with excellent service by our waitress, Claire.
Our dinner featured a Caesar Salad, French Onion Soup, 14oz Grilled Ribeye Steak and Wild Sockeye Salmon. For dessert, Kim selected the Seasonal Dessert, blackberry crisp, made with local berries, that she judged "outstanding".
My choice, The Black Cat Brownie Sundae, a dark chocolate brownie with a side of Tillamook Vanilla ice cream, topped with caramel& chocolate syrup, was rich and can easily be shared by two people.
We could see why locals and returning visitors favored this eating spot, with its quality food, full-service bar, and friendly atmosphere.
We were so impressed by our visit to this city, we extended our planned week-long stay for several days, to explore more of what Bellingham has to offer.